Archive for May, 2013

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English – it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them – then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”

- Mark Twain

Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Michele Roberts on Chloe Aridjis’ Asunder: “Powerful and artful, Asunder works like a poem, pulling us into a labyrinthine sequence of connected images. By the end, it seems like an abstract painting, apparently defying narrative time.” (The Independent)

Michelle Bailat-Jones on Marie Ndiaye’s All My Friends: “Hers is a unique voice among other contemporary French writers, and her fictional vision both intricate and distinctive.” (The Rumpus)

Scott Martelle on Edward McClelland’s Nothin’ but Blues Skies: “At its best, McClelland’s book reminds us of what has transpired in the heart of the country over the past 30 years and of the battering endured by hundreds of thousands of working-class families as global corporatism and federal trade policies gutted the American middle class.” (LATimes)

John Preston on Rhidian Brook’s The Aftermath: “While the backdrop here is intriguingly stark, the foreground stubbornly fails to ignite. Part of the problem is that the sinews of Brook’s plot simply aren’t strong, or clear, enough.” (The Telegraph)

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

malcolm gladwell


Malcolm Gladwell takes on the New York Public Library. (Huffington Post)

Norway knows sci-fi covers. (flavorwire)

Here some hints on JJ Abrams’ upcoming book. (Huffington Post)

Yeah, but how old were they in the book? Fictional characters’ “real” ages, from (flavorwire)

Here’s a look at what’s coming to the bookshelves this summer, courtesy of (USA Today)

Because sometimes you just want to know, here’s the history of the “f-word”. (Huffington Post)

Author, Jack Vance, has died. He was 96 years old. Rest in peace. (

…and the remembrances roll in. (The Guardian)

“On this day in 1960 Boris Pasternak died, at the age of seventy. Pasternak’s last years were dominated by the publicity and persecution which attended the publication of Doctor Zhivago (1958 in the U.S., 1988 in the Soviet Union), and the announcement that he had won the 1958 Nobel Prize. The Soviet line, communicated by quiet threat and noisy rhetoric, was that Pasternak and his novel were anti-communist; that by accepting the Nobel, Pasternak was agreeing to “play the part of a bait on the rusty hook of anti-Soviet propaganda”…” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Walter Mosley


Walter Mosley walks us back through the what pulp fiction has afforded us. (The Huffington Post)

The National Book Critics Circle launches a new, democratic award. (The Washington Post)

Hachette Books acquires a collection of Maeve Binchy’s journalistic writings. (The Bookseller)

Move over, ice cream man. The Penguin Book Truck is here. (GalleyCat)

The legacy of Russian dissent literature, on tap at (The New York Times)

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize lands on five worthy stories. (Granta)

Keith Kelly recaps some celebratory tidbits from Book Expo America thus far. (The New York Post)

James Smythe is up to IT in his rereading of Stephen King’s catalog. (The Guardian)

Here’s a selection of the best books about Julius Caesar. (The Telegraph)

“On this day in 1914 the first installment of Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology was published in Marion Reedy’s weekly magazine, The Mirror. Over the next six months Masters would write the remainder of his 244 ‘epitaphs,’ publishing them in book form in 1916. Both the magazine and book publications carried the pseudonym of ‘Webster Ford’ as protection: Masters was a successful lawyer, and he feared that the backlash from local readers who objected to his unflattering view of life in a Midwest village…” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

“An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.”

- Langston Hughes



Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Kevin Nance on Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed: “If “And the Mountains Echoed” has a flaw, it’s a familiar one for books of its time-spanning, globe-trotting genre: a surplus of characters, including some introduced fairly late in the proceedings, when the reader just wants to return to the core cast.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

Jenny Turner on Gill Hornby’s The Hive: “The main story, truth be told, is formulaic: hearts of gold are rewarded, feet of clay are trampled down to dust.” (The Guardian)

Edward Luce on George Packer’s The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America: “In its sensibility, The Unwinding is closer to a novel than a work of non-fiction. It is all the more powerful for it.” (Financial Times)

Janet Maslin on Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls: “Ms. Beukes is a South African whose earlier works have been closer to hard-core science fiction, but “The Shining Girls” is pure thriller.” (NYTimes)

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013



In a personal letter, Rudyard Kipling seems to cop to plagiarism for parts of THE JUNGLE BOOK among other things. (The Telegraph)

Amos Oz wins the Kafka Prize. (The Los Angeles Times)

Here’s a little preview of what’s in store for Bridget Jones in her next outing. (The Los Angeles Times)

A kid lends his suggestion for making the newspaper more interesting. (Twitter)

Apple, if you will, in a nutshell. (Publishers Weekly)

Amazon’s model of paid fanfiction brings the topic, once again, up for discussion – who owns characters? (The Atlantic)

Waterstones’ “The Book That Made Me” campaign has churned out some compelling stories of its own. (The Book That Made Me)

Stolen documents are returned to the Maryland Historical Society. (infodocket)

“On this day in 1849 Anne Bronte died of tuberculosis, at age twenty-nine. This was the third death in eight months among the Bronte siblings, Emily‘s and Branwell’s coming earlier. A total of six Bronte children were born in a six-year period, 1814-1820: the two eldest died of tuberculosis at age eleven and ten, and within six weeks of each other; the three youngest died of the same disease (along with alcohol and opium, in Branwell’s case), all three in their late twenties or early thirties…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, May 27th, 2013



Remember our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. And for the ones serving, you can send them books in care packages – even ebooks, if you like. (GalleyCat)

An undiscovered Pearl S. Buck novel is imminent. (The Guardian)

Bookriot posts a great ‘best of’ page while they take a BEA hiatus. Check it out! (BookRiot)

Gill Hornby has a chat with (The Telegraph)

Small press takes on (or takes off, if you will) Amazon. (The Christian Science Monitor)

Keith Richards is good at playing guitar and poisoning himself to pickled longevity. Returning library books? Not so much. (Huffington Post)

THE GLASS CASTLE author, Jeanette Walls, is a Midas at turning out silk purses from sow’s ears. (The New York Times)

Make customized audiobooks for your children. There’s an app for that. (GalleyCat)

USA Today previews Book Expo America. (USA Today)

Move over Bookmobile! No, really. Move over. There’s a guy on a bike. (Bookpatrol)

“On this day in 1907 Rachel Carson was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Her homestead is now a museum and educational center, though it includes only one of the sixty-five acres upon which Carson grew up and learned the life-lesson that she would teach the world: ‘The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea, and sky, and their amazing life’ (The Sense of Wonder). It was Carson’s mother who taught both the wonder and the sense…” (Today In Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

“A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”

? Franz Kafka




Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Katherine Baily on Fay Weldon’s Long Live the King: “Fans of “Downton Abbey” will relish this rich and witty comedy of manners.” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Tina Jordan on Emma Brockes’ She Left Me the Gun: “What binds the book together isn’t a sordid drama but the indomitable spirit of a mother who refused to let the past poison her daughter: ”If the landscape that eventually emerged can be visualized as the bleakest thing I know — a British beach in winter — she stood around me like a windbreak so that all I saw was colors.”" (

Stephanie Papa on Fionna Sze-Lorrain’s My Funeral Gondola: “But are these pieces ‘dark’ themselves, or do they simply invite us into an unused room in our imagination, where we had previously turned off the light? With that in mind, don’t let the somber title fool you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to come across Sze-Lorrain’s humor within the melancholy…” (The Rumpus)

Martin Chilton on Gill Lewis’ Moon Bear: “The ill treatment of the animals makes for painful reading – as does the general sense of people lost in the soulless, consumer-led urban environment that corrupts Tam’s boyhood friend Noy – yet this is also a tale of friendship and moral courage.” (The Telegraph)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

action comics


The things you find inside ramshackle walls – like, say, a comic book worth more than $100,000. (Kotaku)

George Saunders covers a lot of ground in this interview with (The Guardian)

The Palestine Festival of Literature treads the Gaza Strip. (PressTV)

Why gays and Mormons are no longer token novelties for characters in literature. (The Washington Post)

Literature as the source material for television shows is the topic on tap at (Buddy TV)

Bodycounts in fiction and how we process loss and carnage. (Huffington Post)

The hope(?) of automated book discovery. (The New Yorker)

Journalist and author, Haynes Johnson, has died. He was 81 years old. Rest in peace. (ABC)

“On this day in 1891, Edith Wharton’s first published story, “Mrs. Manstey’s View,” was accepted by Scribner’s Magazine. Wharton was twenty-nine years old, brought up in wealth and high society, and recently married to a prominent banker; she was as opposite to her destitute heroine as she was to being a struggling young writer, and her first story throws the write-about-what-you-know rule out the window….” (Today In Literature)


Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, May 25th, 2013




A delightful book comes from the true trouble of a child losing her adorable book of rules in a WalMart. (Publishers Weekly)

WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? author, Maria Semple, has a chat with (The New York Times)

Another literary tavern story this week – Shakespeare’s The George. (Publishers Weekly)

Time to start thinking towards the Nobel Prize for Literature. (GalleyCat)

Ali Smith pens a tribute to Lydia Davis – while she’s alive even!. (The Guardian)

Here, have some three minute fiction from (NPR)

Eleanor Clift reflects on THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE, after 50 years on the shelf and on our minds. (The Daily Beast)

The expected big books of summer, courtesy of (Salon)

Research ahoy! Publishers Weekly is collecting data on how readers read. Will you lend your thoughts? (Publishers Weekly)

“On this day in 1938 Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, the family moving three years later to Yakima, Washington, where Carver grew up. Carver’s biographical essay, “My Father’s Life,” tells about his upbringing what his highly-acclaimed stories tell about others: the grind of poverty, the ruin of alcohol, the permanent worry of cave-in or break-up, the resolve and dignity of those who keep going when their only sure direction is down. Many of Carver’s poems are also biographical…” (Today In Literature)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, May 24th, 2013



If you follow the trail backwards, you’ll find that Victor Hugo planted the seed that would become Batman’s nemesis. (boingboing)

If you’re a writer who doesn’t want your personal papers published posthumously, you’d probably better burn them before you kick. (The New Yorker)

See the Burmese tavern that’s also an Orwellian landmark. (The New York Times)

The city of Manila is less than flattered by Dan Brown’s attention. (The Guardian)

PW takes a Twitter ribbing for its headline “Judge Leans Against Apple”, but it’s actually publishing news. (Publishers Weekly)

Rick Atkinson has won the Pulitzer. Now he’s going to school us on the American Revolution. (GalleyCat)

HuffPo has an exclusive excerpt from Stephen king’s latest, JOYLAND. (Huffington Post)

David Sedaris is very funny. And he uses naughty words sometimes. (Lambda Literary)

From the money-where-your-mouth-it files: An indie press donates its proceeds to fight censorship. (Publishers Weekly)

“On this day in 1951 Carson McCullers’s The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Other Works was published. Included in this omnibus edition were most of the pieces upon which her reputation now stands: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, and a handful of short stories. These had all been written over the previous decade, and the critics used the occasion of the omnibus publication to confirm thirty-four-year-old McCullers as one of America’s most important contemporary writers…” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

? Dorothy Parker


Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

James Norton on Damian Thompson’s The Fix: “While the broad-brushportrayal of modern life as a teeming morass of temptation and compulsion is the book’s strongest (and most disturbing) feature, Thompson also scores some important points against the concept of addiction as disease.” (Washington Post)

Janey Maslin on Ben Mezrich’s Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-Dollar Online Poker Empire — and How It All Came Crashing Down . . .: “Being a near-perfect specimen of pulp nonfiction, “Straight Flush” has to give its story the obligatory arc. So it begins in the present, with an overwritten prologue about the first whiffs of trouble.” (NYTimes)

David Evans on Beatrice Hitchman’s Petite Mort: “While it is perhaps too coy about its thriller aspects, Petite Mort is an impressive and enjoyable debut: nimble, deft, and wrapped luxuriously in the velveteen glamour of the movies.” (Financial Times)

Darren Franich on Stephen King’s Joyland: ” The mystery isn’t too mysterious. The ghost hardly appears. Not that much happens, really. A nifty but out-of-nowhere climax suggests that Joyland is really an overgrown short story.” (

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013




Lydia Davis wins the Man Booker International Prize for 2013. (The Telegraph)

Stephen King doesn’t really do a lot of interviews, but here a bit of a new one with (Parade Magazine)

Here are five enduring literary mysteries – still unsolved. (The Huffington Post)

Dustin Kurtz responds to the news of Amazon’s plans for cashing in on fanfiction. (Melveille House)

Sorry guys, your unused giftcards from Borders are as worthless as IOUs from Julius Caesar. (The Los Angeles Times)

What does Khaled Hosseini like to read? (The Daily Beast)

Which authors are Google-searched the most? (GalleyCat)

This just in: use of metaphors can be tricky. (The Guardian)

Journalist, Richard Irwin, has died. He was 76 years old. Rest in peace. (The Baltimore Sun)

“On this day in 1910, Margaret Wise Brown was born. Included in the over one hundred children’s books she published — even more came out after her early death — are The Runaway Bunny (1942) and Goodnight Moon (1947). Brown’s writing philosophy developed through her association with Lucy Sprague Mitchell’s ‘here-and-now’ approach to children’s literature. One of Mitchell’s monographs on the world inhabited by Mollie, a typical two-year-old at her experimental school…” (Today In Literature)


Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013



Quantas commissions flight-length books. (The Los Angeles Times)

Author, David Bezmozgis, diagrams how he works. (The Guardian)

John Warner on the writer/reader relationship in (The Chicago Tribune)

Amazon bought some licenses and will pay people to write fan fiction. (

… more on this from (The Bookseller)

Nearly a quarter of a million dollars bought the author-annotated version of HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE. (The Huffington Post)

A scheduled auction of a rare book collection draws some criticisms. (Fine Books Magazine)

You wouldn’t necessarily expect a New Releases list to include poetry by JRR Tolkein. (The Millions)

Penguin settles ebook lawsuit for $75 million. (Yahoo!News)

Notes on a book-purge, from (BookRiot)

“On this day in 1967 Langston Hughes died, aged sixty-five. Hughes was one of the most influential and respected of Black American voices in the middle decades of the century, writing prolifically in many genres, and almost exclusively on one theme. In a 1926 essay entitled ‘The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,’ Hughes announced that theme this way:

We younger Negro artists now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they aren’t, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too… If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn’t matter either….” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Steven Rose on Daniel C Dennett’s Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking: “If you’ve never read Dennett, Intuition Pumps is the one to go for – a distillation of all that he has written before. You’ll enjoy and be challenged by it. But read it sceptically.” (The Guardian)

Paula L. Woods on Mo Hayder’s Poppet: “Tautly told in the present tense in chapters that alternate primarily among Caffery, AJ and Flea Marley’s points of view, “Poppet’s” plot is as complicated as its villains and heroes. Characters central and peripheral to the action are full of contradictions, including Misty Kitson’s grief-numbed yet raging drunk of a mother and Marley, who’s grieving the loss of her parents in a diving accident some years before while wrestling with her feelings for Caffery.” (LATimes)

Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan’s The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office: “Except for the irritating habit of calling organizations “orgs,” the book does a great job of explaining business forces.” (

Leyla Sanai on Matt Haig’s The Humans: “…a wryly humorous look at the human condition as seen by an alien.” (The Independent)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, May 20th, 2013



We have Nebula Award winners! (GalleyCat)

And we have Benjamin Franklin finalists from the (Independent Book Publishers Association)

Forgoing an e-version , it’s nothing but paper for Stephen King’s latest, JOYLAND. (Library Journal)

Dan Brown says the critics in the UK are the toughest. (The Bookseller)

Pat Conroy takes up a red pen and becomes editor of Story River Books. (The Island Packet)

Helen Oyeyemi tells us what she listens to while she writes. (Granta)

Amazing, beautiful, and slightly conflicting: artwork made from unwanted books. (BBC)

JK Rowling tells the backstories of some of the Harry Potter players. (NPR)

Alice Walker throws in with renowned conspiracy theorist, David Icke. (The Independent)

“On this day in 1937 W. H. Auden’s Spain was published in England; the proceeds from sales of this pamphlet-length poem went to the Spanish Medical Aid Committee, one of a number of international organizations supporting the anti-Franco cause, and a group which Auden had tried to join as an ambulance driver in Spain just months earlier. One who would have had need of such aid was George Orwell: also on this day in 1937, and also in Spain while fighting for the Republican cause, George Orwell was shot in the throat in front-line fighting….” (Today In Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

“Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.”

? W.B. Yeats